Ahh, the dorm room! The pinnacle of independence, the hub of instant ramen, and just about the smallest amount of space you can imagine fitting a bed, desk, and all that stuff you’ve been hoarding over the semester.
Before you move in, there are a few things you should know. I wish I had known these tips before throwing myself into the depths of roommate living, along with literally every item of clothing in my wardrobe.
Here is my list of dorm room do’s and dont’s. I did it first, so you don’t have to make mistakes!
1.DO try to connect with your roommates in advance
Trying to get to know people that you’re about to spend eight months of your life living with is the key to a successful household–but it’s not always easy! I have 3 roommates, one of whom I met on through a Ryerson “Class of 2022” Facebook group. We requested to have each other as roommates after talking for a couple of weeks, so we already knew we had the same lifestyle and could even be good friends. At HOEM Residence, we were given the option to send our names and emails to our roommates a few weeks before moving in, which was a great way to introduce ourselves and get a little more familiar before moving in together.
2. DON’T expect to live how you did at home
No matter how well you and your roommates get along, there are bound to be conflicts of interest. Maybe you really like to leave your shoes on, but that drives your roomie nuts. Maybe your roommate takes hour-long showers, and you just wanna wash off after the gym. Your lifestyle WILL change, and you have to be okay with making adjustments.
3. DO bring a spare… everything
I’m talking a second toothbrush, razor, loofah, pair of headphones, hairbrush… unless you’re Monica Geller (or someone else who is very organized for my non-Friends folks). If you use it every day, bring an extra. You’ll lose it, drop it in the toilet, forget it at a friend’s, or someone might just steal it (because honestly, maybe they didn’t read this list). Seriously, save yourself the pain.
4. DON’T pack your entire wardrobe
It just won’t fit. Trust me… it just won’t.
5. DO (carefully) decorate your walls
Having photos, posters, ticket stubs, and other personal items to make your room feel like home can really brighten up and personalize a space. But… the keyword here is CAREFULLY. Buy command hooks or painters tape instead of nails or thumbtacks that leave damaged walls (and will stare you in the face when it’s time to move out!).
6. DON’T try to do everything in the same space
Studying or eating in bed can really ruin the way you feel about sleep. Make sure that you have different spaces for each of your activities so that your brain knows that bed = sleep. Ryerson has a ton of amazing study spaces, so get outta that room!
7. DO stay organized
If you aren’t the type of person who grew up cleaning their room for fun, you’re going to have to start developing some techniques to stay organized. Your bedroom will most likely be the size of a shoebox, and having more than one shirt on the ground will make it look like a tornado flew around the room (ha!). I recommend getting in the habit of making your bed every morning, making sure dirty clothes go in the laundry hamper, books go in their place, and treating your desk like a workspace rather than a dumping ground.
8. DON’T keep all the stuff you get from O-Week
Unless you’re keeping it in a tiny organized box and you want those coupons and string bags forever, all those papers and promotional pens can really clutter your space. If you miss any of it once it’s gone, you’ll have another chance to get 8000 stickers next September!
9. DO be respectful
During exams, residences have 24-hour quiet periods and a no-guest rule. But once you start school, you’ll realize that exams aren’t the only times people need some peace and quiet! Don’t blast your music at midnight, talk loudly on the phone, or occupy study space that you aren’t using to study. Your roommates may not always express their frustration, but believe me, a little consideration can go a long way.
10. DO use the opportunity to make friends
You’re surrounded by these folks every. single. day. Even if you’re in a single, socialize with people on your floor. It’s a super easy way to make friends for even the most introverted among us.
And my final note before ending this post… simply be kind and considerate. You no longer live with your parents, you are responsible for yourself and your actions and living amicably with yourself and others is going to take some work.
You got this, DORM’t worry about it!